Monthly Archives: April 2015

Breaking Up

It began in the mid-1970s and has been going on with various degrees of intensity ever since.  My dad introduced us.  Dad took my brother and I to see the relatively newly franchised Milwaukee Brewers at County Stadium.  My dad loved baseball, and even more than watching the game,  he loved teaching its many rules and nuances to his children.  Thus began my long-standing love affair with baseball and the Milwaukee Brewers.

Now… After 40ish years,  The Brewers may have broken my heart one too many times. It may be time to part ways.

In 1982, they were flush with talent:  Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Cecil Cooper (COOOOP!), Stormin’ Norman Thomas; and they played in the World Series.  That fall is etched in my memory (aided by the fact that I was very pregnant with my son).  I watched every pitch of every game (which isn’t easy to do when you’re very pregnant – if you’ve ever been very pregnant, you know what I’m talking about), including their heart-breaking game 7 loss to the dreaded St. Louis Cardinals.   The Brewers haven’t made it back to the World Series since — although the $&*# flippin’  Cards have had many subsequent appearances.

Last year, the Brewers had a Hot, Hot, Hot start to the season with an off-the charts winning record in April in May.  Jonathan Lucroy (LUUUUUC!), their catcher was on fire, along with Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Gomez.   (BTW – Aramis Ramirez is a fun name to say out loud–especially if you roll the ‘R’ in Arrrrramis-you should try it!.)  After being in first place for most of the season, the Brew Crew collapsed in the late going, ending in third place.   This year, they have the worst starting record of any team in baseball since the 1997 Chicago Cubs.

Worse.  Than.  The.  Cubs.  It’s almost more than I can bear. It might just be time to break it off.  Too many false hopes, unfulfilled promises and shattered dreams.

As long as I can remember,  I (like my dad) LOVED baseball.  My dad would play catch with me and my brothers for hours.  My bros played Little League – I did not, since I was (and still am) a girl.  (FYI – there were many interesting things girls could not do in that time and place–it drove me absolutely batshit crazy.)   Later in life I joined an adult women’s softball team, and learned to play a respectable second base; but alas, my hitting was weak and while my short little legs churned mightily, I could rarely beat the inevitable throw to first that followed my weak infield grounder.

But, back to those good-for-nothing Brewers.   Just as I’m on the brink of calling it off – they won a game — and are stringing me along with the slightest glimmer of hope.  They can Change – Really, they Can!    Hah!  I learned a long time ago you can’t count on anyone changing for the sake of a relationship.

Maybe I need to start seeing other teams.

Out of the Darkness

Anorexia was a dense, dark fog surrounding my daughter, Guzzy. The ugly fog separated her from her family and loved ones and prevented  her from truly living her life.  It prevented her from pursuing other interests or expending energy on anything other than her illness.   During the depths of her illness, we would occasionally get rare and precious glimpses of our pre-ED daughter,  but then the haze would inevitably deepen and she would recede further into its depths.  Her world was very small, isolated and lonely.

I recently asked Guzzy if there was a particular moment during her illness when she realized that she needed to get better.  There was.  She had been staying periodically  with her adult cousin in Milwaukee, near where she was being treated at the time.  One night she found herself compulsively walking in circles around their small apartment while also reading a book.  Her ED would not allow her to hold still –it demanded constant motion.  Her orbit through the apartment took her through some lit areas and some dark areas,  and she became irritated that the darkness was interrupting her reading .  This was a lightbulb moment for Guzzy (pardon the pun).  She didn’t want to be forced into the dark anymore;  She wanted to read her book in the light – away from her Eating disorder.

Guzzy has been in a solid recovery now for about a year; and I only recently heard this story.  As her mother, I did not notice any clear delineation of behavior until she was further along in her journey.  In fact, she got somewhat worse before she got better.  Recovery is rarely linear; and a desire to get better does not always translate into having the strength and ability to face down your ED.   As one former sufferer told me “you need to feel the fear and do it anyway”. But, I believe that this  lightbulb ‘aha’ moment was a necessary step for her eventual recovery.

Everyone deserves a life free of Eating Disorders.  Everyone deserves to live in the light. 

 

Celebrations

The lil’ grand-darlins turned two last weekend and Guzzy attended her (second) junior prom.   While it was a tough choice for this mom/grandmom… I made the trip north to attend the toddler’s birthday celebration in person and settled for a Facetime session with the lovely prom-bound couple.  Guzzy and her date looked absolutely amazing, and they managed to have a great time despite my absence.

The grand X girls are learning to talk, and are remarkably articulate with a limited vocabulary and extensive use of body language and a variety of vocalizations.  Little X1 responds to most questions with an enthusiastic ‘Yah!’, or a more subdued ‘No’, or a very adorable shoulder shrug.   She was very concerned about an owie she has on her toe (the result of a dropped tube of toothpaste), and extended that obsession to her post-bath wrinkled fingers – showing them to me and saying ‘Owie, Owie?”

Little X2 tried very hard to keep us from seeing her smile when introduced to her birthday balloons.  She initially gave a little smile, but got self-conscious about it when she noticed that she had an audience.  Eventually she got over her shyness and gave us many beautiful smiles.

A few other couples and families came to the party, as well as Uncle Ben.  The weather was great, and we moved the party outside to break the pinata and to open presents.   It took several rounds for the kids to break open the pinata.   With some help, little X1 patted the pinata softly with the stick, and little X2 just wanted to hold the stick during her turn and resisted efforts to ‘help’ her swat the pinata with it (this is in keeping with her independent nature).   They received lots of fun presents, and had a great time playing with and fighting over their birthday bounty.

On the flip-side of all that cuteness is that I don’t think I’ve ever changed so many poopy diapers in a single weekend.  Those girls need to eat more Cheese!

I was particularly glad that Ben made the trip north too, and It was a great opportunity for some cards with my older two kids.   I would post a picture of the gin rummy scores, but it would embarass Kelly.

So now, its Monday.  Back to Wisconsin, Back to Work, Back to chilly weather, and back to a household where everyone is potty-trained!

 

 

Cats and Dogs

My husband’s cat’s name is Pandi.  She is currently rubbing against me purring, which means two things:  Dan isn’t home and she is hungry.  She is a total food whore.    if she gets hungry enough she will start biting me.  We seem to have an unspoken agreement:  I assist in her care and feeding, and she wakes me up …. at 4 am … whenever she damn well feels like it.

I am a dog person married to a cat person.  While I tolerate his cat, Dan has informed me that a dog is out of the question.  I admit he has good sound reasons.  Dogs ARE more work.  Dogs DO tie you down; Dogs DO crap all over the yard.  But then there is this:  A dog is always happy to see you-dogs are the definition of unconditional love.  I am a total sucker for those videos of dogs greeting their soldier owners back from the war; it gets me every time–the dogs are completely wild with joy, jumping all over their best friend in the world!

Would a cat do that? Not on your life.  A cat would simply stare and blink at you for an extra second or two; before yawning, stretching and settling in for yet another nap.

I used to have a dog named Curly.  Curly was a mutt that I got from the pound in the BK (Before kid) days.  I was her favorite person.  I loved her and she loved me — even when the kids starting arriving and she was no longer at the top of my priority list.  At the  end of her long life, Curly was deaf, mostly blind, horribly arthritic and mostly incontinent.  She would go out in the yard to do her ‘business’ and she would get lost.  Since she was deaf, she couldn’t hear us; so I went out into  the snow in my robe and slippers to retrieve her on  more than one occasion.  Her quality of life slowly degraded to a point of no return.

One day at the end of Curly’s decline, My oldest daughter, Kelly, was sick and stayed home from second grade.  I stayed home from work and took advantage of the rare day off in the middle of the week to take Curly to the nearby vet to be put down.

By late afternoon, Kelly was feeling better and we were burying Curly’s body in the garden.  Kelly’s teacher had said she might stop by with some schoolwork, so I asked Kelly to put a note on the door telling Ms. Fasbender that we were in the back.   I should have been more specific, because the note read:

 “Ms. Fasbender:  Since I was home sick today, my mom killed the dog.  We are in the                         back burying her”.

Well…. I never knew for sure if Ms Fasbender came to our house that day.  I do know she didn’t show up in our back yard, and I do know that social services did NOT show up on my door; AND, it was a long time before Kelly was sick on a school day again.

Monthly Random ED Rambling and news

A new feature for my blog:  A monthly post of  thoughts and news updates from the trenches of the war against Eating Disorders (EDs).   In the spirit of full disclosure, I am currently more of a ‘weekend ED warrior’  since ED is no longer a daily,  tangible, and evil presence in our home.

To extend the war analogy: I believe there is a sort of Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder that affects parents that have tended their child through a life threatening illness.   in my case, It does not take much to ‘trigger’ vivid and visceral memories of that time.  I get flashbacks to sitting for hours at the dinner table watching  my daughter silently cry while staring into a bowl of cereal.

I have previously written that the degree of care needed in Family Based Treatment in the re-feeding stage for anorexia is comparable to the level of care and commitment required to care for a newborn.  Except:  you know how to care for a baby–their needs are generally pretty predictable.   Except: With a baby–other people are happy for you and eager (and able) to help;  Except:  with a baby–you will not be harshly judged for their condition;  Except: with a baby, you can predict the next stages with a high degree of confidence.  Except:  A baby will not (purposely) sabatoge or resist their own care.  I could go on and on, but you get the drift.

RANDOM ED RELATED NEWS

ED advocates have successfully shamed Amazon into pulling the outrageously titled app:  Save the Anorexic Girl‘.   The premise of the game is to fling various food items at an emaciated girl to save her from starving.  Apparently, the cartoon girl would actually die if not hit in the head with a sufficient quantity of pies.  Wow.. just…… wow.  Who in the hell comes up with this stuff?  I’d like to throw a cow pie at THEIR head.

Then there is this:  Despite the fact that anorexia is the most dangerous of all mental illness, research to treat EDs is grossly underfunded. This is most apparent when following the money:  A study in 2011 found that Research dollars spent on Alzheimer’s Disease averaged $88 per affected individual in 2011. For Schizophrenia the amount was $81. For Autism $44. For eating disorders the average amount of research dollars per affected individual was just $0.93.

Which is a perfect seque into an unapologetic plea for YOUR help to raise money in the battle against EDs.    Click HERE  to donate to the Madison NEDA fund raising walk… or sign up to walk with us.  Hmmm… maybe I should invite a certain app developer to the walk;  we can whip up some cow pies and have our own version of a ‘dunk tank’.   We can call it ‘Crap on the App’.

Signs of Spring

Signs of Spring in Wisconsin: 

1.   The Badgers are in the NCAA Champsionship!!!    Our reward for kicking some Wildcat butt last night – GO BADGERS!

2.  The Sun is emerging from its winter hiatus.  It’s re-appearance is a truly amazing event.

3. The snow is gone!!!   No more shoveling this season!  (I am choosing to ignore the predictions of possible snow next week – it will not stick)

4.  It is the flu and allergy season…  lots of sneezing, snorting, coughing and hacking… at our house and almost everywhere you go.

5.  I am a work-widow.  This is the hyper-busy season of Dan’s  job at a local Marina.  Tis the season that a boater’s fancy turns to the water.

6.  Pasty white limbs are now visible in short-sleeves and the occasional optimistic pair of shorts.  Sun glasses are advised.

7.  Time to celebrate Easter and Dan’s mom’s 91st birthday.  Rock on Betty!

8.  Baseball season starts next week: Looking forward to another season of rooting on the Brewers.   Luckily they have a stadium with a roof – for the confluence of predicted snow and the home season opener.

9.  Prom is just around the corner.  Guzzy will be going to her second prom in two years…  good thing she’s agreed to wear the same dress this time around!

10.  My darlin’ grand-daughters are turning two!  And, there is nothing terrible about them.. although I will get back to you after babysitting them for a weekend in early May.